Skip to main content

tv   Book TV  CSPAN  May 1, 2011 11:00am-12:00pm EDT

11:00 am
" to untrained eyes and ears, this spect call resembled springsteen's own live performs with their impassioned rituals of audience participation. more savvy onlookers recognized the irony in the president's attempt to cloak himself in the populist rocker's reputation. why should a republican cold war era and conservative family values advocate try to ride the coat tails of a working class hero rock star, a sympathetic chronicler of serial murders, laid-off autoworkers turned criminals, downtrodden vietnam veterans and nostalgic losers? and so i go on to, you know, talk about the 1984 was the year that bruce springsteen's "born in the usa" album was released with the best-selling single from that album, "born in the usa."
11:01 am
and there's a big disjuncture between, of course, the chorus and the verses in that song where the chorus can be taken and was taken and appropriated as this patriotic affirmation that the verses told the story of a downtrodden vietnam vet. and so there's a lot of commentary on that, and the conservative columnist george will tries to sort of claim springsteen for reaganism and the right. and that part of the story's pretty well known of the gipper and the boss. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> now on booktv, brian christian looks at the state of artificial intelligence today and reports on the annual loebner prize event where the turing test is administered to the most advanced computer programs in the world.
11:02 am
from seattle, washington, this is about 50 minutes. [applause] >> thanks so much to elliott pay for having me. i lived in seattle for the past four years, and so this is my neighborhood haunt. and thanks to you guys for coming out. this is awesome. so the book really tells two stories. the first story is about how the computer plays into this really long-standing, philosophical narrative which is that humans have always been sort of obsessed and fascinated with their unique place in creation. what is it that makes us different and special and unique? and to answer this question we
11:03 am
have typically, if you go back to aristotle and plato and day cart and these guys, we've typically tried to benchmark ourself against animals. so what i think is so interesting about the 21st century is that the benchmark that we're using to figure out who we are has changed. we're much more interested in our relationship to machines than in our relationship to other animals. and it's changing the way we think of ourselves. and the other story is a much more personal one which is that i got to be a part of one of the artificial intelligence community's sort of main competitions which is this contest called the loebner prize. and so i was, essentially, part of the human defense. and so i found myself in this very strange position. so the book opens in the fall of 2009, and i'm in brighton,
11:04 am
england, and having this very strange feeling that i've flown 5,000 miles from seattle to brighton just to have several five-minute-long instant message conversations which seems a bit like overkill. [laughter] my goal in these conversations is probably one of the strangest things that i've ever been asked to do which is i have to convince a panel of scientists that i'm human. and they are going to be somewhat skeptical. [laughter] um, so this, this is all part of what's called the turing test. so the computer science pioneer alan turing back in 1950 as the computer was just in its infancy was already asking these really philosophical questions like, can machines think? are they intelligent in the human sense? would it be possible someday to design a machine that actually
11:05 am
could think? and if we did, how would we know? so what he decides to do is just put philosophy off to the side and say i'm going to invent a practical test. we're just going to hold this test and have our answer. so the way it works is that you con vehicle a panel of -- convene a panel of scientists, and they're having these five-minute-long textual chat conversations, sending messages back and forth. what they don't know is whether the messages that are coming back to them are from a human being or from a computer program claiming to be a human. and it's their job over five minutes to figure it out. so alan turing's famous prediction was that by the year 2000 computers would be fooling us about 30% of the time. and that as a result we would, as he puts it, be able to speak of machines thinking without expecting to be contradicted. this prediction did not come true.
11:06 am
and even at the year 2000 the top ai programs were maybe fooling the judges once a year the if they were lucky. and so my ears really perked up in the year 2008 when the top computer program at this annual competition managed to fool three out of the 12 judges or 25% meaning that it was just one vote shy of passing this threshold and passing the turing test. so it was a narrow save, a narrow scrape for homo sapiens. [laughter] and so i had this feeling of, well, maybe that means that 2009 is going to be this pivotal year where machines finally cross that mark. and the feeling that i immediately started to have was, not on my watch. [laughter] and so i wanted to see if there
11:07 am
was, you know, something i could do to come to the aid of my fellow humans. and so i tried to get in touch with the organizing committee. um, so i should say that the way the contest is run everyone who participates whether you're a piece of software or a person gets this score, and the score represents how confident the judges were that they were talking to a real person. so every year there's a computer that gets the highest score which wins a research grant for the programmer and an award called the most human computer award. and this is the award that the contest is paced on, and it's the one -- based on, and it's the one with all the sort of scientific attention. but the strange thing is there's also an award that goes to the real person who did the best job of persuading the judges they were talking to a real person which is called the most human human award. [laughter]
11:08 am
and so i immediately became fascinated with what exactly is this award all about. and as i read back o over the history of previous winners, one of the winners in 1994, one of the very first was the science fiction author charles plath. and when asked, how did you do it, how did you with prove yourself more human than the other people in the contest, he said, well, it was easy. i was moody, irritable and obnoxious. [laughter] everyone else was mild-mannered and polite, and so i stood out. and to me, that was hilarious but, also, bleak. [laughter] and at some level, also, this call to arms of, well, okay, how do we be as human as we can be under the constraints of the turing test, and how does that translate to life? does it?
11:09 am
so i got in touch with the organizing committee of this test, so i started at the top by reaching hugh loebner, the granter of the award himself. loebner is an eccentric millionaire who made his fortune in new jersey selling plastic portable roll-up, lighted disco dance floors in the 1980s. [laughter] and decided at some point that part of what he wanted to do with his fortune was immortalize himself into the annals of science. and he's also, as i asked him, he's very excited about the day when computers do all of our work for us. and so he cites laziness as one of his main motivations for funding this prize. but really before i knew it i made the case for why i wanted to be part of the human confederate team as we're called, and before i knew it, my
11:10 am
name was on the roster. so i was in this position of, okay, in six months i'm going to be one of the four actual people trying to take a stand against these machines passing this test. what am i going to do exactly to prevent that from happening? and the organizers' advice to me was pretty much what i had been told to expect which was, well, you are human, so just be yourself. and those words sort of haunted me, just be yourselfment -- yourself. i kept having this feeling that, you know, it represented, ps perhaps, a naive overconfidence in human instincts or, at worst, actually fixing the fight. because the ai programs that we're going up against are in many cases the results of decades of work and, again, so are we. [laughter] but the programmers who write these programs have done
11:11 am
tremendous analysis on the past conversations of the test. they know which conversational routes lead to deep exchange and which ones fizzle out. they know how to steer the conversation toward the strength of their program and how to avoid its weaknesses. and we all know intuitively that not all conversations are uniformly successful. there's this huge demand in our society for dating advice, conversation coaches, conflict resolution, seminars, all of these things. that suggests paradoxically that communication is both our species' perhaps greatest cognitive strength ask the place with the greatest room for improvement. and certainly, that's what i felt when i read the 2008 transcripts which was the year it had been such a narrow scrape where the humans are downright apologetic to each other that they can't make better conversation. [laughter] one says, i feel really bad, you must be really tired of talking
11:12 am
about the weather. another says meekly, i'm for being so banal. meanwhile, the computer in the other window is apparently charming the panels off the judge who in no time is gushing lols and smiley faces. [laughter] so my feeling was, we can do better. now, ordinarily -- and so, okay, so i must say my intention was to be as thoroughly disobedient to the organizers' instructions to just go to brighton and be myself as i possibly could. so i went back over the history of the test, i looked at which conversations went sour and tried to figure out why. i studied the way these software programs are composed and what sorts of simplifications of human conversation they had to make in order to be viable so i could play up precisely those things. and i talked to psychologists and linguists and computer scientists about, you know, what are the things about computer --
11:13 am
about human conversation that are really hard to do on computers. now, ordinarily, this wouldn't be anything -- there wouldn't be anything strange about this. we train for tennis tournaments, we cram for exams, but given that the turing test is meant to evaluate how human i am, there's something sort of odd about this. it suggests that, you know, being human or being myself is more than just showing up. and so for me one of the interesting lessons was that it sort of is. and looking at these software mimics of conversation helped me to get a sense of that. so before i get into that, i feel that i should read a strange and more than slightly ironic cautionary tale. dr. robert epstein, the uc san diego psychologist, editor of
11:14 am
the scientific volume "parsing the turing test" and co-founder with hugh loebner of the loebner prize subscribed to an online dating service in the winter of 2007. he began writing long love letters to a russian woman named ivana who would respond with long letters of her own describing her family, her daily life and her growing feelings for epstein. eventually, though, something didn't feel quite right. long story short, epstein ultimately realized that he'd been exchanging lengthy love letters for over four months with, you guessed it, the computer program. poor guy. it wasn't enough that web ruffians spammed his e-mail box every day, now they have to spam his heart. [laughter] on the one hand, i want to simply laugh at the guy. he founded the loebner prize turing test, for christ's sake. what a chump. [laughter] then again, i'm also
11:15 am
sympathetic. the un avoidable presence of e-mail spam in the 21st century not only clogs the inboxes and bandwidth of the world, for example, roughly 90% of all e-mail messages are spam. you're talking tens of billions a day. you could literally power a small nation, for example ireland, with the amount of electricity used to process the world's daily spam. but all of that spam does something, arguably, worse. it erodes our sense of trust. i hate that when i get e-mail messages from my friends, i have to ec pend a modicum of energy -- expend a modicum of energy, at least for the first few words deciding if i think t really them writing. we go through digital life in the 21st century with our guards up. all communication is a turing test. all communication is suspect. that's the pessimistic version, and here's the optimistic one. i'll bet that epstein learned a
11:16 am
lesson. and i'll bet that lesson was a lot more complicated and subtle than trying to start an online relationship with somebody from russia. it was a dumb idea. [laughter] i'd like to think, at least, that he's going to have a lot of thinking to do about why it took him four months to realize there was no actual exchange occurring between him and ivana and in the future he'll be quicker to the real human exchange draw and, as a result, his next girl who, hopefully, is not only a bona fide homo sapien, but lives fewer than 11 time zones away may have ivana, in this very strange way, to thank. so to help understand some of this anxiety about humans' relationship to computers it's worth pointing out that up until about the 1950s computers used
11:17 am
to be human. so back before the word "computer" was a reference to the mechanical-digital devices that proliferate on our desks and in our pants pockets and things, it meant something else which was that it was a job description. computers, frequently female, worked in groups for research laboratories and corporations and the military. so groups of human computers were behind everything from the first calculations of haley's comment to the atomic bomb project. and so engineer ors and computers -- engineers and computers fell in love all the time. [laughter] and, in fact, it's very strange. if you look back at these early papers in computer science before anyone knew what these gizmos were, to listen to people
11:18 am
like turing having to explain for the first time to their audience what they're talking about. and so what they say is, well, you can imagine that this digital thing is kind of like a computer. and what they mean is it's kind of like someone who does math for a living. and so what i find so strange then is that living in the 21st century it is the human math whiz that is like a computer. so the, the mechanical version has not only become the default term, but actually has supplanted the original as being the literal term. we are now like computer when they used to be like us. so it's this strange twist we now imitate our old imitators. um, the harvard psychologist daniel gilbert says that every psychologist must at some point in his or her career write a
11:19 am
version of what he calls, "the sentence." specifically, the sentence -- which is always capitalized -- reads like this: the human being is the only animal that, blank. and so the history of humans' sense of self is, you might say, the history of these failed, debunked versions of the sentence. the twist now is that it's not really the animals that we're so concerned with. if you go back and read aristotle and descartes, they're really interested in trying to prove that we have souls and monkeys and dogs and wolves don't. and so they say things like, well, okay. wolves can run through the jungle and avoid falling logs and hunt prey and form social groups and recognize their friends. that's, obviously, very easy to do. [laughter] we are capable of things like long division and remembering
11:20 am
facts. [laughter] and the existence of the computer, i think, takes some of the wind out of that argument. where, in fact, we've seen exactly the opposite which is that these very rigidly-logical step by step things like doing long division and factoring large numbers are, in fact, quite simple as long as you apply the method. and things like recognizing your mother are extremely complicated, and we're still developing systems to do it. the newest version of i photo on the mac just released their face recognition software, and it's okay. so, meanwhile, you know, we have been playing grandmaster chess for decades. so all of these really counterintuitive results coming back to us about some of what we thought was really easy is actually really hard. some of what we thought was really hard is actually really easy.
11:21 am
and i think what's really fascinating about the turing test in particular is that it really cuts both ways. so there's a philosopher at oxford named john lucas, and he says when machines finally pass the turing test, it will not be because they're so spent, it will be -- intelligent, it will be because we're so wooden that it'll be an indictment on our conversation skills rather than a testament to machine technology. and so all of these sorts of questions are swirling in my head as i try to get back to this central issue of i'm going the brighton to defend my species, what am i going to say? um, and for me a look back at the way that some of these programs are built starts to suggest a couple different options. um, specifically, people who write software that competes in the turing test generally have
11:22 am
to make one major trade-off which is, are they going to compose ahead of time everything that the program is going to say? and give it this very defined character and personality and voice? um, the trade-off with that is that you find that there's a very limited range of stuff that your program can say, and so it gets very awkward if you try to push out of that sort of rigidly-defined structure. so you see a lot of turing test programs in the '90s that have extremely well thought out opinions about the second term of bill clinton. the judge -- to which one of these comments the judge replies, huh, well, that's interesting. you know, i really like pancakes. what duke do you think of that? and it just keeps going about bill clinton. [laughter] the trade-off that you make if you go the other direction, so around the '90s and the first decade of this century this other paradigm emerged for how
11:23 am
to create a -- [inaudible] which was basically to turn it loose on the internet and have it observe what people say to it. so you can almost imagine this martian landing on earth and someone coming up to it and saying, hi. humans often begin conversations by saying hi. interesting. [laughter] and then the martian walks down the street and comes up to someone and says, hi. and then that person says, hey, what's up? it goes, humans often say, hey, what's up, when you say hi. and it's a very pain staking process, but over the course of, in many cases, decades of just hanging out online waiting for people to, you know, cross its path and talk to it it builds this massive database of real stuff that people say. and you find when you interact with this kind of software this
11:24 am
very uncanny ability to respond to all sorts of things. so, for example, i attempted to see if it would reply to me if i spoke in french. and i found that my french was not only understood, but actually corrected. [laughter] sort of condescendingly, it told me the grammatically correct version of the sentence that i had given it. and you often find if you try to give it song lyrics, it will sing back to you. so i had a conversation where i started typing in lyrics from "bohemian rap soty." so i said scaremuce, and the clever bot replies, will you do the fandango? [laughter] and there's something truly eerie about a program that can do this. but part of what you learn as you interact with these programs, it's not so much that
11:25 am
you're not talking to a human as that you're not talking to a human. and that turns out to be a really critical distinction. so if you ask it questions to which there is a correct answer, it will generally have that answer. you say, what country is paris in? it'll say, france. you say how many legs do ants have, it'll say six. but if you start to ask it questions about yourself, you get this very strange sense that you're talking to several thousand people that are quickly being cycled in and out. and this is what i discovered when i started to ask cleverbot about it love life. so i say, do you have a boyfriend? clever jbot: not at the moment, but i hope to find one soon. so i venture, i would like to be your boyfriend. [laughter] cleverbot: that would be difficult since i'm happily married. [laughter] curious, i asked again for
11:26 am
clarification. user -- or, sorry, me: do you have a boyfriend? >> no, i'm still looking for love. do you have a husband? i don't have a husband because it would be illegal for me to have one since i am male. [laughter] male? okay. what gender are you? the female. [laughter] once again just for good measure, do you have a boyfriend? in not at the moment, but i live in hope. can i be your boyfriend? no, i'm straight. [laughter] so the other thing you have to keep in mind when you're interacting with a program like this is that you're up against several million prior conversations. and, in fact, it becomes one of the main challenges is trying to figure out how to depart from
11:27 am
are everything that's been said in ten million previous conversations. because as lock as you stay within that giant day -- as long as you stay within that giant database that it has, it's going to have some response. maybe not southwesternly consistent, but -- internally consistent, but the objective is actually to push out of that and leave it totally stranded. in fact, this is a very similar problem to what happens in this game theory. so if you look at grandmaster chess players or expert checkers players, every board starts in the exact same configuration. so there are only so many original moves that you can make. so if, you know, ten million games of chess have started in position one, you know, you make your first choice, and there are still a quarter of a million games that have been played in that position. and one of the big challenges to being a chess grandmaster is how to get into a completely new position and to get your opponent actually thinking rather than simply remembering
11:28 am
these kind of standard wisdoms. so one of the stories that i tell in the book is the day that checkers died. which was in 1863 in glasgow, scotland, checkers died. this was the world championship checkers match between james wiley and robert martins. they were scheduled to have a 40-game series over the span of about two months. and the outcome was zero wins, 40 draws and zero losses on both sides, and, in fact, 21 out of the 40 games they played were the same game. [laughter] move by move. that there -- the game had gotten to this point where there was such a giant pool of collective checkers wisdom and the players were sort of reluctant with the stakes that high to play an inferior move
11:29 am
just to get the other person -- it's called out of book -- that they just didn't get out of book. they just played the book game 21 times, and the sponsors were extremely displeased. um, and no one, of course, knew who to give the world title to. so part of the challenge for the checkers community is to figure out how to keep the game worth playing. and so the real strategy, basically, is if you don't like the way checkers players are opening the game, open the game for them. and that's what's happened in top-level checkers play. i don't know if you guys have been following that. but ever since the 180s they've -- 1880s they've been mandating the first few moves of the game so that the two players will sit down, and they'll literally draw a move out of a hat and say, okay, you've got to do this, you've got to do that, okay, now you can actually start the game, you can actually start
11:30 am
thinking. and that this becomes a way to kind of salvage it, to force people back into a position where they have to do original thinking. and you see the same thing when you go up against cleverbot. how do you wrench the conversation into this totally original place where it has not encountered the subject matter or the specific language that you're using. and so for me that was, that was part of the challenge was when i sat down, the first thing the judge said to me was, hi, how's it going? and i thought, no! you know, we're in book. this is what every conversation begins with. you fool, don't you realize that there's going to be, like, thousands of entries in the hi, how's it going table in this database? [laughter] and so i think that, that's part of the challenge of human conversation is to get out of book in that same way where, you know, you sit down over coffee with an old friend, and you say, you know, how's it going, you know? oh, good. how's it going with you?
11:31 am
and the goal is to figure out, you've got this kind of template conversation which is, like, these standard questions and standard answers, and you have to sort of figure out how to break that and get it into this totally fresh thing where you're actually thinking again and sort of responding freshly. .. >> it's also this really radical
11:32 am
shift in the question, where our reference point has totally changed. so the computer is not only shedding light on these early age old questions but to some extent it's changing the industry. it's corrected some long-standing errors that we are talking about with ai sort of hit where it hurts. what i think is like welcome way. and you know, it's given us the assassin for us like i could land planes before i can ride bikes. it can translate you in minutes before it can be shown a photograph of an object and tell you what that object is. which any five year old can do. so i think artificial intelligence and the term specifically is not just a pat on the back at how impressive we are and that there's all this complexity to what we do which i think is heart of the important message. but at the same time is not a
11:33 am
pat on the back it's also sort of this call to action that we should not celebrate but actually actively pursue these things. that's part of what i think the beauty of these chat bot programs is. the existence of spam forces me to be myself in order for you to click the link that i am sending you. that it's not a question of etiquette or style but now a part of online security, you act like myself all the time. i think more generally it's a fastening process where we create the systems in our own image, but there's always this gap for the approximation ends and the real things begin. so that gap always has something new i think to teach us about who we are. so, i will stop there and take some questions from you guys. [applause]
11:34 am
>> i have one. >> yes. >> i haven't read the book yet but -- [inaudible] i'm curious as you were driven to research and work on this book what, beyond curiosity is this fascinating trial. were you looking to build hope in the context of another what sort of h.g. wells computer lurking over our lives story? is that part of it? if not, what is? >> i think traditionally the narrative of ai is seen as this very dehumanizing narrative. and so when you look at the portrayal of ai and movies can't you get something that basically
11:35 am
runs like computers are going to slay us all with machine guns, come out of the sky, see lesson hyperbaric chambers and steal our heat forever. i mean, if this happens then i will obviously feel very foolish for saying this, but i feel a little more sanguine about ai than that. i think in the context of, if you look at generally the way these ai contests are one, ibm and deeply computer clashed against the world human chess grandmaster until the communal and you like okay, we're done. he was like no, rematch. they were like, sorry, no. there seems to be this prevailing attitude that once humans get beat not something we don't need to contest it ever
11:36 am
again. and pretty much the same thing just happened with jeopardy where, what i would want to see is the ibm jeopardy supercomputer not so much versus jennings and others can but versus the show's writers where they give the riders a vengeance match to create like much more tricky questions with denser puns and these sorts of things. and so i think the same thing is true, the first year of the prize is awarded, hugh lochner is done. he told, walks away. but to my mind it's a very exciting time. where we are sort of knocked to the canvas conversationally, and have this opportunity to do the really human thing, which is to pick ourselves back up and figure how to adapt and improve and get better. and a beautiful thing about the test is also hopefully means
11:37 am
being better at life. so i sort of look forward to that. >> are you looking for to the time when you can be one of the judges? >> yeah. it would be nice to be one of the judges because you don't have the existential anxiety of having -- [laughter] having your humanity in doubt. so yes, i think that would be a case to come back and try to figure out what the strategy would look like from the opposite side. >> presumably each one of these computers is submitted by respected research into the of some kind. but then there must be every year at least like one that is the least human program. >> yes. >> could you talk about if there are any sorts of -- are they picking bad strategies to try to fool the judges? are the things in common that make programs that?
11:38 am
>> -- that make programs bad? >> that's a good question, what made the program bad. i get a for example, that with these bots, the one most readily virtue in the book is clever bot, that a simple, giant, you know, masses of different conversations together, one of the problems that happens when you're you're indexing tens of much of conversations, that it takes a while. and not all conversations make sense when it takes several seconds for the other person to say anything. and so, that becomes actually another way of trying to trip up the computers to generate this phone conversation that is less like a kind of strict to a date, type of deposition stock, give me the right answer to this thing and we wait for you to do that. and more the kind of, like, report a sort of quick witted style conversation where is the
11:39 am
computer has got to reach back through the logs or 10 million conversations just to be like, good one -- [laughter] they need to start to detect that maybe no one is home back there. >> would you wager a guess what year computers can evaluate other computers versus human speech. >> you mean the computers themselves will actually judge the text? [inaudible] >> well, that's a good question. in fact, i would say several years ago, basically computer run turned tests are now completely standard part of internet security. where i think most of us have tried to enter a blog comment or something have gone up against this strange window that said,
11:40 am
tell me what his weekly word is. and that's not as what's called a captcha which is an acronym for completely automated public turing test of authenticity, or something like that. you get the gist of what that acronym is. and basically out on the internet with bots running amok, we have to do so many turing test that we can't scale up to that kind of level so within use computer software to decide whether your computer software. [laughter] and it's this very strange thing. i think we are starting -- i'm into it would make me nervous to get to the point where just to enter into a blog post i would have to go into a fully fledged five minute long turing test. but it's starting to happen.
11:41 am
it happened to me, i was playing an online bidding on the internet, and one of the server abend came on and was like cannot just talk to you for a second book i just one mature you are not a script. and i'm like, no problem, dude. i'm a person. he's like, okay. [laughter] but it occurred to me -- this is what the tip of the turing test. you know, in several years time will you have to get grilled every time you sign in? i don't know. we will see. >> you talked a little bit about how computers don't have potential problems, not having a body. can you expand on that a little more? >> yeah. i think in many ways what's been pretty healthy for the discipline of philosophy about ai is that it's bring the body back into the conversation.
11:42 am
that if you look at, you know, these sort of old school guys like plato and aristotle, end up to date, you know, they have to write off animals because they these ideological reasons that they need to discount everything that animals can do. so that basically amounts to discount everything remotely bodily of the human experience. what you are left with is something like, you know, algebra. and i think intuitively that's not fully satisfying to us about what the human experience is really all about. and so i think it's useful to did encounter a system like the ibm washing machine which is the right person, it would have read every book in every issue of the new times ever, but it has never
11:43 am
left the tiny cavity in which it is done all that reading. so you can ask a something like in which year was this dude chlorinated? whatever. and it knows all that. but if you say, okay, you are looking at the wall and you look down, now what do you see? it's like i don't know, i've never looked at anything. and so i think there's something really healthy about that, that's bringing the body back in. these sorts of things i've noticed goes, we don't think of motor skills as cognitively impressive. but it's really hard to create a robot that can walk on two legs. you know, the segue has three computers in it are just designed to keep the handlebar of right. and that makes me feel real good about myself, that i can -- [laughter] i can stand here and it doesn't impress any of you guys, all the because you guys can do that and we are all impressive.
11:44 am
>> what you think is going to happen when they win all the time? 20 years and they've been winning, and people still think it's a hunk of metal, not thinking? was passed the turing test, is there an actual test of cognition? >> i don't know. i gently tried to dodge these sorts of questions. but i don't know that i can get away with that. i think actually that if we get to a point where for all intents and purposes, a machine version of intelligence do operating the way that normal intelligence did, we are still left with the thing that makes us different from each other, which is that we are a product of the individual experiences that we've had, you know. so part of what it means to be human is to be a, human ear to be the product of a very
11:45 am
specific life experience that everything you know is rooted in something that happened to you. and everything you don't know is rooted in things that did not happen to you. and, you know, we turned to something like wikipedia for information. that's mutually verifiable. that everyone would agree that such and such action was in this movie. but what you say to the person who you went and watched a movie with is not, you know, who was director of photography, like most of quick reception? you say, like, what did you think of that? how did what you saw a chord with your background and idiosyncratic life history. so we are still left i think what that difference which seems to be a productive one. and i think it is a life-affirming one. >> what chance does a i have do think in writing emotional
11:46 am
experience, integrating those? [inaudible] >> defining emotion rigorously is another thing that i try to not do. but in terms of this question of thinking versus feeling, so, if i can slightly separate emotion from feeling something, one of my friends is a doctor and he says, you know, if you're diagnosing someone for being sick, you've got a bunch of criteria. so, it's what your heart rate light, which are temperature like, what is your blood cell count like? that a patient come in and they are like whoa, this guy is totally sick, let's check in a. temperature normal, heart rate
11:47 am
normal, blood level account normal. but there is something about the guy that was off. that kind of distinction starts to get to the point where, like a thinking blurs into the. i haven't made a conscious decision based on a flowchart of factors, but i just sort of, you know, assimilate all this data and come up with this harsh that is actually sophisticated even though i can't articulate you like a defense of my emotions, you know. and basically one of the big obstacles for ai in the 1960s when they're starting to roll out these programs that could make these logical flowchart things that we can do, there was this really bullish attitude of cool, we're going to be done with this whole ai thing in like five years. needless to say that didn't
11:48 am
happen. precisely because we found out that of really hard to do these sorts of things. how do you tell a computer when a guy looks off? you know. or how detailed computer when it's encountering someone that knows. what was the process that you went to to recognize your friend. you don't know. and so you can't repeat it. and that's been this whole sort of other paradigm shift in ai. i think we have time for maybe one more. >> i have a question. the turing test come is the one for like literature or music? >> oh, you mean composed a piece and then to try to determine whether these is composed by -- >> right. >> this has been, i mean, in some sense there's been this very uncomfortable retreat being made by people interested in,
11:49 am
like, which domains of human behavior are impossible to sort of break into machines. and one of the most famous critics of ai is a guy named douglas hostettler who, in the 1970s, roses build a winning book where he talks among other things about how computers will never be good at chess because chess requires these intrinsically human qualities like courage and fear and a sense of danger. [laughter] and that didn't happen. and so then "the new york times" asked him for his opinion after that point, and she said my god, i used to think that chess required thought that the i realize it doesn't. but computes will never be able to compose music because to compose music you need to have a hard, you need to have passion, you need to have -- [laughter] and so i don't know. i think that the jury is still out, but i think at the same time even if you get to the point where two compositions are
11:50 am
indistinguishable, the fact that -- icon this is the sort of our good people make about the me. one came from a sustainable practice, so like it feels better to beat that went even though it's the same, like, at the molecular level. that it was still i think placing more to listen to a song knowing that someone was moved to write it, and that i could feel that i was making some sort of connection to the composer through the piece rather than thinking that the piece was just sort of a set of pressures that have been kind of programmed. so in some ways, perhaps a most intrinsically human quality of art is not any particular sophistication of composition per se as the impulse to make the art. so that to me is still the secret. thanks.
11:51 am
[applause] >> and visit booktv.org to watch any of the programs you see here online. type the author or book title in the search bar on the upper left side of the page and click search. you can also share anything you see him booktv.org easily by clicking share on the upper left side of the page and selecting the format. booktv streams live online for 40 hours every weekend with top nonfiction books and authors. booktv.org. >> this inherited the view that we are divided to the way of reason over here and emotion over here. and the two are at war with one another, they're like a seesaw. if you're emotionally then you're not rational. if you're emotional then you're not rational. the reason which is trustworthy
11:52 am
can suppress the passions which are untrustworthy. so this bias has led to a view of human nature that were fundamentally rational individuals who respond to short straightforward way to ensue. that little lot of our academic discipline to try to stick in behavior using the masses of physics. emphasizing what they can count and model and sort of ignored all the rest. i think it's led to a indication, i shall be of human nature would emphasize things that are rational and countable but ignore it or ticket about the things down below. and so it's great a culture in which we are really good at talking about material things, but bad about talking about emotions. really good at talking about health and safety and professional skills, but about the most important things like character and integrity, we often have very little to say. alastair mcintyre the great philosopher said we live in a system where we still have the worst foot important things like virtue and honor, but we don't
11:53 am
have a basic understanding of how they all fit together. he said imagine we had some science works like neutron or gravity, but we didn't understand how physics works so how they all fit together, that's where we are. so i do think we have this an education which blows us in a certain way. and it blows us in the direction of the sort of prevailing breeze that we are not always satisfied with. i mentioned i went to high school and my folks to live in wayne, pennsylvania, just west of here. you see the parents their enemy places around the country sort of trapped in a certain style of raising their kids. so you go to an elementary school out there and the kids, the third grid come up they are winkies 80-pound backpacks, the wind blows them over, they're like beatles sort of stuck there on the ground because we want them to study and do homework and get ready for the harvard admissions test. they get picked up because in that that is socially acceptable to the luxury car so long as it
11:54 am
comes to the country hostile to you in -- hostile to u.s. foreign policy. [laughter] database and picked up by this creature i wrote about in an earlier book called uber moms. they weigh less than their own children. [laughter] they are doing little but exercise during the moment of conception in the delivery room, cutting the of vocal cord themselves, the babysitter plots out there on the flesh and amanda and flashcards so they can learn chinese. and so they turn them into little achievement machines, sat robe practice and they're not happy with it. they don't think this is the most important thing but the tiger mom down the street is doing a. they feel trapped in a system which they ridicule but they can't renounce. they are often in a system where they sort of into it that morality matters more so when
11:55 am
people talk about morality often wind up talking about shopping. [laughter] so when we're out in bad we have the ben & jerry's ice cream, i jokingly books about out there been injured should make a pacifist toothpaste that doesn't kill germs, just asked to leave. be a big seller. [laughter] they've got a whole foods market, one of the grocery store for all the cashiers look like they are on loan from amnesty international. [laughter] my household we by the seaweed-based snacks. kid to come him as a mom, i want a stack that i will hope prevent colorectal cancer. [laughter] so i think this is sort of the world we are sort of trapped in, but we realize that's not all there is. and there's more. to live and more that we should experiencing. and so i was thinking about this problem, and grudge i became
11:56 am
aware of this other sphere of life where they were looking into some of the deeper things. and oddly it wasn't the theologians, it was a philosopher's. but as people who studied the human mind. were innocent of the exciting. in the study of the mind that is being done across a wide a range of sears like neuroscience, cognitive science, psychology, behavioral economics are all these spheres, people are looking into the human mind and really it's a revolution of consciousness and you want to put that way because when you sympathize their findings across these many different spheres, you start with three key insights. and the first insight is that while the conscious mind rights the autobiography of our species, most of the action and most impressive action is happening unconsciously below the level of awareness. and one way to think about this is the human eye can take in roughly 12 many pieces of information and minute, which it can consciously process about 40.
11:57 am
and all the rest is being done really without our being aware of it. a lot of the things that are going on are somewhat odd, and my favorite research funding from the university of buffalo scholar is that people named dennis are disproportionately likely to become dentists. [laughter] people named lawrence are disproportionate likely to become lawyers because unconsciously we gravitate towards things that are familiar, which is what i've named my daughter the president of the united states brooks. [laughter] and some of the things that are going on unconsciously are sort of impressive. it's not the tangled web of sexual urges that freud imagined. some of it, the unconscious is just a different way of understanding the world. and often yielding superiority results. one of the tips i read about was that if you have a tough decision you can't make up your mind, tell yourself you will decide by a coin flip. then flip the coin, but don't go by how the coin comes up, though by your emotional reaction to the coin flip. are you happy or sad they came
11:58 am
up that way? that your unconscious mind having made the decision of telling you what it thinks. been the third area that happens a cautious is the most important how do we relate to people. how do we understand situation. how do we perceive the world. these are the fundamental factors of whether we'll have a successful or unsuccessful life, going on the phone like it a lot of that action is kind of done unconsciously. the second insight is that emotions are not the enemy of thinking. emotions are at the center of thinking. people of strokes relations who can't process in motion probably are not supersmart. they are super dumb. because what the emotions do is they assign value to things. they tell you what you want, what you value, which you don't value. if you don't have the evaluation device come you cannot make rational decisions. and so emotions are not separate from reason that they are the foundation of reason. i'm a middle-aged guy. unaccountable talking about emotion particularly pick one of the scientific statements i ran into which i think is powerful
11:59 am
but i think it still gets to the truth, which is they took a bunch of middle-aged guys, put them in brain scan machines, they had them watch a horror movie and then they had them describe their feelings towards their wives. the brain scans were the same in both circumstances of. [laughter] so it just sheer terror. [laughter] i know what that is like. my wife said -- is not a natural thing. and yet, emotions really are at the center of how we perceive the world, how we value the world. they are the center of how our brain organizes itself. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. spent the next three hours is your chance to participate in a discussion with author and philosopher tibor machan. at chapman university professor and former editor of reason magazine has written extensively on morality and business. capitalism versus individualism, and the pros and cons of libertarian plo

98 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on